Research


Management Advancement Research Center - MARC

The Management Advancement Research Centre (MARC) was established at FAST_NUCES Islamabad to conduct leading edge research in management sciences with the aim to enhance knowledge and find solutions for industry challenges. Various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) work under MARC, all committed to taking up projects which contribute to the body of knowledge, yet at the same time provide a bridge between academia and practice.

The Leadership and Management SIG has carried out various projects on leadership, cross-cultural HRM and performance management over the past few years. International projects and partnerships include work with the Cross-Cultural Management Network (CCMN) under which the main past project covered trust and leadership across cultures, while the current project is based on leadership behaviors, trust and job embeddedness across cultures covering data from 25 countries. Another landmark project of the SIG includes collection of data on GLOBE's cultural dimension in Pakistan and comparison of Pakistan with 61 GLOBE countries in collaboration with the GLOBE team and the Thunderbird University. The lead researcher has also been involved in various projects on performance management to improve industry practices, and has a special interest in using data to improve HR practices.

The Project Management and the Organizational Behavior SIGs expand the scope of MARC. The team's expertise include behavioral decision making in project management, justice, creativity, organizational politics, workplace stressors and psychological stressors. The SIG researchers have various publications in the above mentioned areas and are interested in working with industry to improve organizational practices.

Vision, Mission and Values

Vision: Aspiring to impact management theory and practice through creative and ethical research

Mission: To conduct high quality research, following highest standards of ethics, to provide useful solutions for management, businesses and society, keeping a balance between points of convergence and divergence in an increasingly global business world.

Research Values of MARC

Creativity: Using imaginative and original ideas to create something new.

Excellence: Embracing high standards and continuously creating better ways of doing things.

Impact: : Improving understanding of complex business issues, to impact human and institutional functioning.


Personal Values of FAST School of Management.

Integrity: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

Self-belief: Confidence in your own abilities and judgment to examine your strengths and weaknesses.

Vision: Aspiring to impact management theory and practice through creative and ethical research

The MARC Team

The MARC team is lead by the Director MARC, Dr. Sadia Nadeem and Deputy Directors Dr. Muhammad Abbas and Dr. Shuja ul Islam. The core team also includes Dr. Ayub Siddiqui, Dr. Abdul Wahab and Ms. Ayesha Bano. Other faculty members, researchers and students join the MARC team on a project by project basis. The team is committed to taking projects which contribute to the body of knowledge, yet at the same time provide a bridge between academia and practice. Businesses interested in initiating projects under MARC are welcome to contact the MARC team.

Contact emails for projects in various areas are:

  • Leadership, cross-cultural HRM, performance management and HR systems: Dr. Sadia Nadeem at sadia.nadeem@nu.edu.pk
  • Behavioral decision making and project management: Dr. Shuja ul Islam at shujaul.islam@nu.edu.pk
  • Justice, creativity, organizational politics, business education, Islamic work ethics, workplace stressors and psychological capital: Dr. Muhammad Abbas at muhammad.abbas@nu.edu.pk

Current projects at MARC

Pakistanis in Chinese Culture (Funding Agency-HEC): This research aims to test the impact of top management team expatriates adjustment on identity changes of Pakistani host country nationals. Since 2015, a large number of Chinese expatriates have moved to Pakistan for working in different organizations. However, Chinese way of working differs from Pakistanis in a number of aspects. Hence this research is focused on understanding the impact of Chinese top management team expatriates on adjustment and identity changes of Pakistani host country nationals through mixed-methods approach.

The Management Advancement and Planning Study (Funding Agency-HEC: The Management Advancement and Planning (MAP) Study aims to identify and describe the management and HR practices which exist in the in the Rawalpindi, Islamabad and surrounding areas, and explain whether differences exist in establishments of different sizes and sectors. It also aims to evaluate the impact of these organizational structures, management and HR practices on employees’ behavioral and attitudinal indictors, as well as on the workplace performance indicators. The study will achieve its objectives by using a matched employer-employee survey which will include structured management interviews in approx. 300 establishments and self-completion questionnaires of a maximum of 25 employees in each of these 300 establishments.

Impact of Business Education on Students’ Values (Funding Agency-HEC): UUsing the data collected over 4 years, the study aims to provide preliminary evidence on how business curriculum, text, content, terminologies and language are harming the business graduates’ moral values and norms. The study also wants to explore whether the contents of BBA and MBA degree programs are inculcating selfishness, immorality, individualism, greed, opportunistic behaviors and materialistic values in the students’ minds. In addition, the study explores whether our business graduates, by the time they complete their studies, give up their terminal values and consider only instrumental values as their ultimate goals of life. Finally, the this study examines whether the business students, by the time they complete their degrees, give less importance and less priority to religious and societal norms as compared to the capitalist norms or vice versa.

Management in Pakistani culture (Funding Agency-HEC): The Management in Pakistani Culture (MiPC) project examines the compatibility of Pakistani culture and societal values with leading HR practices often cited as high performance work practices in the Western literature. Using an inductive qualitative approach, the study is based on interviews and focus group discussions with over a 100 participants. The outcomes are focused on whether these practices should be adopted as such or modified, to improve effectiveness of human resource management in large organizations operating in Pakistan.

IESE Project (MARC-IESE) JELER study: Covering data across 25 different countries, the project aims to understand how leaders and the trust that subordinates in their leader impact employee commitment to the jobs and the organization, and how their relationship vary between different countries.

Business leadership in Pakistan: The project on leadership is based on highlighting differences in desirable leadership competencies in different regions of the world, focusing on cross-cultural comparisons, particularly the comparison of Pakistan with various regions of the world. The project also aims to explore differences in Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) behaviors across cultural clusters.

The way forward

To achieve its goal – to conduct leading edge research in management sciences with the aim to enhance knowledge and find solutions for industry challenges – the main strategies of MARC are as following:

Research Activities

MARC aims to provide and develop a research environment by involving faculty and staff in various activities. At a basic level, dissemination of knowledge is encouraged through monthly seminars delivered by the faculty. All faculty members who have either presented a paper or published a journal article are requested to present their work in the seminar. Presentation of working papers is also encouraged. MARC leadership also encourages faculty to present their work at national and international conferences. Academic conferences will be held at FAST NU Islamabad as well. To develop and maintain a formal structure, researchers will submit proposals to national funding bodies, such as HEC, ICT R&D as well as international funding bodies. While the MARC team will work together under the MARC umbrella at the beginning, development of additional research centers will be encouraged to improve research focus.

National Collaborators and Research Partners

Setting up collaborations with local and national industry, corporate sector, practitioner and academic forums with the aim to improve industry-academia linkage. These partners are involved in identifying research needs, sponsoring research projects and refining courses. Collaborations with local universities are established to identify research partners on the one hand, and to facilitate each other in PhD course development and delivery on the other hand. The latter initiative aims to address the shortage of PhD faculty in management sciences.

International Research and Collaborations

International research and collaborations will be encouraged through inviting visiting scholars to FSM Islamabad, pursuing international funding opportunities, attending international conferences, involvement of international faculty in PhD program, and collaborative research projects.

MARC Student Chapter

The main aim of the student chapter is to encourage undergraduate and MBA students who are interested in applied or pure research to work under the guidance of the MARC team on specific projects. Student involvement in MARC may be a part of the final year project work that the student is required to do for degree completion, or additional work.

Proposed targets for next five years (2014-2019)


  • Register 15-30 PhD students
  • Acquire funding for five to ten funded projects
  • Publish approx. three journal articles per year for the first two years, and five journal articles per year for the next three years
  • Conduct three to five academic conferences over five years
  • Represent MARC at approx. five conferences per year
  • Carry out three student projects under the MARC Student Chapter per year
  • Sign six MoUs with national partners
  • Sign three MoUs with international partners
  • Establish a experimental behavioral science laboratory
  • Establish two more sister research centers by the end of five years for focused research activities

  • Research report for Marc can be accessed below:
    MAPS_2017

Software Quality Engineering and Testing (QUEST) Center

The Software Quality Engineering and Testing Center (QUEST) focuses on engineering of reliable and dependable software systems. Quality Engineering and Testing of software systems is an active research area and is receiving a lot of attention worldwide. However, catastrophic software failures are still reported frequently. There is an ever-increasing need to develop better quality software by using systematic engineering techniques. For this purpose, the center will investigate the use of model-driven approaches for developing high quality software.

Almost all professionals in software industry agree on the need to thoroughly test the developed software. However, the actual testing process is severely hindered by lack of automation. Software testing is a time consuming process that requires specific expertise and automation to be cost-effective, which are often not available in industry.

The QUEST center aims to bridge this gap by developing novel strategies and tools for quality engineering and automated testing that are scalable in industrial context. The real impact of software engineering is visible only when the practices/techniques are transferred to the practitioners/industry. Therefore, the center focuses on performing applied research by solving real industrial problems. For this purpose we work closely with local and international industrial and research partners. The key research and academic goals of the lab include:

  • To propose and evaluate new methodologies for engineering quality software systems.
  • To develop new and innovative testing strategies for cost effective testing.
  • To improve the quality engineering practices of local organizations by providing automated quality engineering tools and techniques.
  • To conduct high quality research in collaboration with international research organizations.
  • To allow students and researchers in Pakistan to work with top international research institutes and researchers in the field of quality engineering.

International Collaborations

Engineering dependable and reliable systems is a difficult challenge, which requires cross-disciplinary collaboration involving both the academia and the industry. The Quest lab is actively involved in research collaborations with researchers from renowned research organizations such as Simula Labs, Norway and the Inter-disciplinary Center for Security and Trust (SnT).

Current Projects

  • Integrated Toolset for automated model-based testing – MBT-Toolset (National ICT R&D Funded) Collaboration: Simula Labs, Norway.
  • Automated model based constraint solver. Collaboration: SnT, Luxumbourg
  • Automated Re-factoring of UML Models. Collaboration: Cisco Systems Inc.
  • Automated testing of model transformations
  • Model based development of dependable mobile applications

QUEST Lab Home Page

Impact Factor International Journal publications from QUEST in 2013/2014

  • Muhammad Zohaib Iqbal, Shaukat Ali, Tao Yue, Lionel Briand, Applying UML/MARTE on Industrial Projects: Challenges, Experiences, and Guidelines, Accepted for publication in Software and Systems Modeling Journal (SoSyM), 2014
  • Shaukat Ali, Muhammad Zohaib Iqbal, Andrea Arcuri, Lionel Briand, Generating Test Data from OCL Constraints with Search Techniques, in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 39(10): 1376-1402, 2013.
  • Muhammad Zohaib Iqbal, Andrea Arcuri, Lionel Briand, "Environment Modeling and Simulation for Automated Testing of Soft Real-Time Embedded Software", in Software and Systems Modeling Journal (SoSyM), 2013.

SEcure Networks and Distributed Systems (SENDS) Research Group

The evolution and maturity of parallel, distributed and Cloud computing in last few decades has opened up new horizons in research and applications in these domains. The objective of SEcure Networks and Distributed Systems (SENDS) research group at NUCES is to explore and provide innovative and secure solutions in the rich field of distributed computing. SENDS team focuses on investigation, design and development of scalable and efficient systems and algorithms for the delivery of services to the end user in a distributed environment over the Internet or via a private network. SENDS research group is working in various related domains such as Cloud, Edge and Fog Computing, Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing, Internet of Things, Information Security and Privacy, Green Computing, Computer Networks (Performance Modeling, Admission and Congestion Control, Quality of Service, Mobility Management and its Cost Analysis, P2P systems, Routing Protocols, Fault Management), Software Defined Networking, Business Processes and Services Oriented Architectures and Middleware Systems. For more information, visit SENDS Lab Homepage.

Recent Publications:
  • C. Mayer, Muhammad Adnan Tariq, R. Mayer, Kurt Rothermel, "GrapH: Traffic-Aware Graph Processing", In IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 2018.
  • Ehtesham Zahoor, Zubaria Asma, Olivier Perrin, "A Formal Approach for the Verification of AWS IAM Access Control Policies", In proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Service-Oriented and Cloud Computing, ESOCC 2017, Oslo, Norway, 2017.
  • Sukanya Bhowmik, Muhammad Adnan Tariq, Boris Koldehofe, Frank Duerr, Thomas Kohler, Kurt Rothermel, "High Performance Publish/Subscribe Middleware in Software-Defined Networks", In IEEE Transactions on Networking, 2017.
  • Hassan Ali-Ahmad, Kashif Munir, Philippe Bertin, Karine Guillouard, Meryem Ouzzif, Xavier Lagrange, “Processing Loads Analysis of Distributed Mobility Management and SIP-based Reachability”, Springer Telecommunication Systems, 63(4), pp 681-696, 2016.
  • Kashif Munir, Xavier Lagrange, Philippe Bertin, Karine Guillouard, Meryem Ouzzif, “Performance analysis of mobility management architectures in cellular networks”, Springer Telecommunication Systems, 59(2), pp 211-227, 2015.
  • A. Bouchami, Olivier Perrin, Ehtesham Zahoor, "Trust-based formal delegation framework for Enterprise Social Networks", In proceedings of the 14th IEEE International Conference on Trust, Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications (TrustCom-15), 2015.
  • Muhammad Adnan Tariq, Boris Koldehofe, Kurt Rothermel, "Securing Broker-Less Publish/Subscribe Systems using Identity-Based Encryption", In IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, Special Issue on Trust, Security and Privacy, 2014.

Software Engineering Research Center (SERC)

The objectives of this centre are to carry out research and development in software engineering and allied application areas. The centre promotes theoretical research in the software engineering area, resolve problems faced by the software industry, and helps establish software engineering practices in the industry. Through SERC, the University seeks to help and support the local software industry in establishing and improving their processes and practices through continuous feedback and training. SERC aims to achieve these objectives by collecting the industry data to understand productivity, cost, and quality parameters. This will hopefully also help in developing more suitable process and lifecycle models for different types of projects being undertaken by our local industry in the offshore and distributed environment. Software Architecture, Software Project Management, Software Quality and Process Improvement are main areas of research.

Sample Projects Completed

  • Software Maintenance Prediction: An Architecture Perspective.
  • Coverage Analysis for GUI Testing.
  • Intelligent Requirement Prioritization using Fuzzy Logic.
  • Proposing Architecture for Grid Monitoring Tools.
  • Tracing Architecture Decisions to Requirements.
  • Proposing Software Project Management Methodology.
  • Integrated service-oriented architecture (SOA) environment.
  • Software Architecture for 2D Mobile Game Development.
  • Sense Me (A virtual interface).
  • Authenticated identification system.

On-going Projects

  • Framework and Software Architecture for Information Assurance and Regulatory Compliance (“FAIR”)
  • A Generic Model for Testing Agent based Applications
  • Software Effort Estimation using Evolutionary Computation Techniques
  • Widget-Based Application Composition Framework

ReVeaL (Recognition, Vision and Learning) Research Group

ReVeaL is a research group that focuses on applied research in Visual Recognition, Computer Vision and Machine Learning for solving real-world large-scale complex problems.

In ReVeaL the goal is to conceive, design and develop recognition systems that can recognize and understand the content of an image (or video) and then make informed decisions or recommendations. Building such systems not only demands solutions for complex recognition and inference problems but also requires answers to challenging computational questions.

Research areas include:

  • Computer Vision
  • Visual Recognition
  • Deep Learning
  • Applied Image Processing and Machine Learning

Members of the group:

Following faculty members are part of this group:

  1. Dr. Sibt ul Hussain (Post Doc. and Doctorate in Visual Recognition and Machine Learning).
  2. Dr. Usman Farrokh (Doctorate in Visual Recognition and Video Processing).
  3. Dr. Fareed Ahmad (Doctorate in Applied Image Processing).

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Leaning [AIM]

The primary motivation for the creation of this group is to encourage the development and understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applications in our students and faculty members. It promotes inter-disciplinary exchanges between AI and other fields such as information processing, energy management etc. Its principal focus is to maintain a sustainable research base aimed for graduate and post-graduate students within relevant research areas.

This research group emphasizes on the areas of Computational Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Mining. We explore the applications of the algorithms and techniques from these areas, in real life scenarios. The group has ongoing research work that investigates the creation of automated and independent learning within machines. Some areas where our research work is applied include Game AI, Social Computing, Knowledge Management, as well as other classical areas of research such as function optimization in dynamic or time variant environments.

Members of the group:

  • Dr. Hammad Majeed, Assistant Prof.
  • Dr. Waseem Shahzad, Associate Prof.
  • Dr. Hassan Mujtaba, Assistant Prof.
  • Dr. Omer Beg, Assistant Prof.
  • Mr. Ali Nasir, Assistant Prof.
  • Ms. Saba Rasheed Malik, Assistant Prof.

EPIC (Embedded Systems & Pervasive Computing) Lab

Electrical Engineering Department hosts the Embedded Systems & Pervasive Computing (EPIC) Lab that as the name suggests, encompasses research and development activities in the broad areas of Embedded Systems, Internet of Things (IOT), Cloud Computing and integration of software and hardware systems. It is headed by Dr. Ataul Aziz Ikram, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering. Currently, a Higher Education Commission (HEC) funded National Research Program for Universities (NRPU) project is being executed by Dr. Ataul Aziz Ikram, Principal Investigator. The title of the project is “Implementation of a multi-device multi technology cloud, performance evaluation and customization for commercial applications”. The project is in collaboration with the University of Gujrat, Hafiz Hayat Campus, and the Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Zia- Ul Qayyum, who is also the Vice Chancellor there.

HALP (Huawei Authorized Learning Partner)

To bridge the gap between academia and industry, the University has joined hands with Huawei Technologies to establish a training center at its Islamabad campus. It is now a “Huawei Authorized Learning Partner (HALP)” and is able to deliver Huawei Certified Network Associate training program. The three programs currently offered include HCNA Unified Communications and HCNA Storage and HCNA Routers and Switches. Six batches that constituted Industry Professionals and University Alumni have successfully completed HCNA training from HALP.

HAINA (Huawei Authorized Information and Network Academy)

Huawei Authorized Information and Network Academy (HAINA) is a not-for-profit partnership program that authorizes universities and colleges to deliver Huawei Certification courses to their students. Huawei and Islamabad campus signed HAINA agreement recently and two batches have already completed their Training Program. The University believes that practical knowledge will create opportunities and will support effective and sustainable growth. Through the HAINA program, Huawei and NUCES contributes support to the local ICT education, shares knowledge, creates more opportunities, and builds a better ICT talent eco-system.